State Bank of Patiala manager claims he was bewitched by customer posing as MHADA officer promising cheap flats; hands him Rs 93,000 at bank's Dadar branch while in a 'trance'
In a bizarre case of fraud, the police are on a manhunt for a conman with powers of hypnosis after a bank manager claimed he was bewitched into parting with R93,000. Although he handed over the money to the man himself, he told the police that he had no conrol over his actions and remembers little of what had happened.
Around 11 am on Tuesday, manager Bhupendra Kumar Maniram (52) was sitting at his desk at the Dadar branch of State Bank of Patiala, when a man walked in and introduced himself as MK Sharma, an officer from the Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority (MHADA).
A sketch of the accused released by the police. He had introduced himself as MK Sharma, an officer from MHADA
“He met me under the pretext of opening a bank account for his brother, who he claimed was disabled. While I was discussing the procedure, I asked him about his profession and he told me that he works for MHADA. Very soon, he offered to help me get MHADA flats at a very reasonable rate,” Maniram said in his statement to the police.
“With his smooth talking, Sharma convinced me to invest in the project and immediately called up someone from his phone pretending to register my name. He also gave my address details and PAN card information to the person on the phone,” he told cops.
A CCTV grab of the accused at the State Bank of Patiala, Dadar
The next thing Maniram recollected was walking to the cashier and asking for R90,000. He told the police he was in a trance and had no control over his actions. When the cashier gave him the money, he walked back to his cabin and gave it to the accused, along with another R3,000 from his pocket. It was only ten minutes later that Maniram could come out of the trance, when he realised he had been duped.
“Ten minutes later after Maniram came to his senses he realised that he had been cheated, but by that time the accused had disappeared with the money. Maniram only remembers taking the money from the cashier. He then approached the Dadar police station and registered a case of cheating,” said a cop from Dadar Police.
An FIR was registered under section 420 (cheating) against the name the conman had used — MK Sharma, but the cops learnt this was a false identity.
Maniram told mid-day, “I would not like to give the details of the case at the moment. Please contact the Dadar police for any queries.”
Senior Police Inspector Nishikant Patil of Dadar police station said, “We retrieved the CCTV footage from the bank, and based on that, the accused’s sketch has been made. We have now launched a major manhunt for him.”
“The complainant was hypnotised into giving the money. Our investigation has revealed that the accused had also tried to dupe a manager at another bank in Dadar but failed,” said the investigating officer in the case, Police Sub-Inspector Yashwantrao Shinde, adding that the other bank manager had recognised the accused from the sketch.